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Analysis of Much Madness is Divinest Sense by Emily Dickinson

:: 1 Sources Cited :: 2 Sources Consulted
Length: 955 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)
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In 'Much Madness is divinest Sense' (435), a definition poem, Emily Dickinson criticizes society's inability to accept rebellion, arguing that the majority is the side that should in fact be considered 'mad.' The perception of madness and insanity are a common theme among Dickinson's poetry, as she fought against society's tainted view of herself as crazy. She focuses on how judgmental society is on non conformist views when she describes the majority as 'discerning' (line 2). As similar to most of her poetry, she writes in iambic meter and uses slant rhyme, as lines one, three, and seven end with 'Sense', 'Madness', 'dangerous', and lines six and eight, in 'sane' and 'Chain' in seemingly rhyme scheme. Dickinson credits the majority with prevailing, however, anyone who disagrees is considered a threat to society and sentenced to punishment.

MacDonald agues that 'Much Madness in divinest Sense,' (435) features one of Dickinson?s more disturbing themes, using ?dark imagery of confinement and fear? (1) to draw the reader into the subject of madness. A division between society?s...


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...s or conform to the desires others have for us. Through her writing Dickinson also proves the awareness she had of the perception society held of her.

Works Cited:
Kattleman, Beth. Poetry for Students, Vol. 16, Gale 2002. Critical Essay
Source Database: Literature Resource Center

MacDonald, Deneka Candace. Poetry for Students, Vol. 16, Gale 2002. Critical Essay
Source Database: Literature Resource Center

Oates, Joyce Carol. Soul at the White Heat: The Romance of Emily Dickinson?s Poetry.
Vol. 13, No. 4. 1987. pp. 806-824.

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